Author Topic: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?  (Read 3512 times)  

Offline shaunq

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Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
« on: December 19, 2016, 04:53:23 am »
Hi everyone,

I've been in the game for just over two years now. This December, though, the sales slump is really hurting.

I'm worried that this is more than a blip and the bubble has finally burst! My sales have grown almost every single month over these two years, but these sales figures are slipping back towards sales around 3-4 months ago.

KDP sales are down 25%. Paperbacks down 21%. Audible sales down 22%. These figures are compared to November 2016 sales.

My author rank, which has been consistently between #2,000-2,500 for around three months is now down to around #4,000.

Usually, I'd try to forget the numbers and just stick with what has been working for me so far. However, given that December is usually a bumper month due to the Christmas sales -- December 2015 saw my sales increase 35% on November 2015 -- I'm more than a little concerned.

Does anyone have any words of wisdom for me? Is anyone else struggling for sales unexpectedly during the holiday season? Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks

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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #1 on: December 19, 2016, 05:06:18 am »
    Last year December was my worst month of the year.  This year it will be my best.  Difference is aggressive promo.

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #2 on: December 19, 2016, 05:11:26 am »
    I don't have any previous years to compare this to, but this month has been my slowest so far. I haven't done promos this month, though. I'm not reading too much into it just yet.

    Offline KCecala

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #3 on: December 19, 2016, 05:27:51 am »
    I've put off all my promos till January, based on last December's abysmal sales...yeah, this December doesn't seem to be much better! I think there's the inevitable drop-off from Kindle no longer being the new thing, plus all the competition we've got out there. Let's hope for a turnaround in 2017!

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    Offline Justawriter

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #4 on: December 19, 2016, 05:43:06 am »
    Last year December was my worst month of the year.  This year it will be my best.  Difference is aggressive promo.

    Same here. Knowing the last quarter of the year is usually slow, I planned more releases and more promos. Two bookbubs last month (two different names/genres) and a new release this month and one of the Bookbubs was to push 7 books I put wide. So, December is actually shaping up to be my best month of the year.

    But without this promo and new release, my sales would likely be way down.

    The good news though, is that sales generally start to pick up right after Christmas, when people have new kindles to fill and gift cards to spend. :)

    Offline SB James

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #5 on: December 19, 2016, 06:38:09 am »

    The good news though, is that sales generally start to pick up right after Christmas, when people have new kindles to fill and gift cards to spend. :)
    And this is when I intend to do a great deal of promotion (for me anyway).
    This December, for me, is no worse or better than the past couple of months, which just have been better for me overall. The promotion is making all the difference though.
    I'm just hoping that AMS clicks don't get more expensive this coming January  :o


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    Offline Cheyanne

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #6 on: December 19, 2016, 06:59:04 am »
    I was really hoping someone would start a thread like this. I've had a great 8 months of sales and was looking forward to December, which is my best sales month 3 years in a row now... and sales have.... tanked. Like, 50-70% less than usual, and I just released a new book. It's made me worried that I somehow angered the Amazon algorithm gods and I'm being punished or something.

    I'm also wondering if their accounting is wrong, because two days ago I gifted 3 copies of my book to people (which they then claimed) and it's only shown 1 sale on the dashboard.

    Offline RyanAndrewKinder

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #7 on: December 19, 2016, 07:07:18 am »
    If Amazon would actually give information like a section on referral pages (because believe me. They have access to see what page people are coming to your book from.) you'd be able to better promote your book or have an idea of what's causing a slump or spike. Because as it stands now there's no real way to tell what's doing either. This has been my best month for softcover physical sales by a magnitude of 1/3rd of softcover I've ever sold since August 2014 came from this month. I didn't run any promos, this just randomly happened. Just like you'd want to prevent a slump, you also wish you could know what caused a spike.

    Offline JaclynDolamore

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #8 on: December 19, 2016, 08:19:23 am »
    My sales have been so odd. They took a dive on Thanksgiving. Then, suddenly, in early December, my ranking on The Sorcerer's Concubine sailed up from 4,000 (about my lowest since I started regular promo) to the 1300s (my best ever at full price). For six days straight I had some of my best sales ever. Then it dove again into the 3000-4000 range and has stayed there ever since.

    So generally, sales have tanked since the holidays began except for that one odd week (couldn't find any mention of the book on a blog or promo site somewhere to explain it, but who knows).

    There haven't been a lot of fresh books in my category, though, so maybe everyone is just slumping as we all hit our 90 day cliffs and our also-boughts aren't helping each other as much. This does seem to sort of be the case. I'll have a new release in January and a big promo push then, so I'm not too worried at the moment.

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    Offline Alvina

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #9 on: December 19, 2016, 08:56:31 am »
    This December sales slump is the worst of the year! I don't know what happened to Amazon, but it is really a horror to me!  :-X
    « Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 09:03:51 am by Alvina »



    Offline Jonathan C. Gillespie

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #10 on: December 19, 2016, 10:44:40 am »
    Yes. I'd been doing pretty well since July, when I released a new series, but December has just been a train wreck.


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    Offline Jeff DeGordick

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #11 on: December 19, 2016, 11:04:52 am »
    Haha, December has basically been my first month as an author and I thought I was doing all right as a newbie. I guess that means I'm actually doing fantastic! :P

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    Offline LadyG

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #12 on: December 19, 2016, 11:15:40 am »
    I released a new book in November and sort of expected a nice little bump in sales. Instead, the new book (#1 in a new series) bombed and apparently took all my others with it in December. I'm having the worst month I have ever had -- and that includes the month I released my first book in 2014 with no idea what I was doing! I've had 5 sales all month and zero pages read since late November.

    Offline Cherise

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #13 on: December 19, 2016, 11:22:02 am »
    January on the left and December on the right

    This is the typical sales graph for ebooks. Promotion can help, but this is what ebook sales naturally tend to do.



    Offline Sonya Bateman

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #14 on: December 19, 2016, 11:32:21 am »
    Yeeeup. It's slumpy. But I have heard that December isn't that great (I think Cherise has it right above, with the graph).

    Personally, I don't know anyone who's shopping for themselves right now or has a lot of time to read, and ebooks aren't really a popular gift. Kindles and gift cards are, though, and that's why January picks up, when the insanity that is December is over and people can breathe again.

    If January is this bad, THEN I'll start weeping into my coffee. ;D
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    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #15 on: December 19, 2016, 11:36:25 am »
    December has ALWAYS been a weak month for me since I started a very long time ago. It has always been more than made up for by January and February.
    I do not accept the Terms of Service which were instituted without notification. I do not consent to VerticalScope reproducing content I posted on this forum in any newsletter, website, or another forum. I've requested account deletion; however, the owners of this forum REFUSE to delete my content. Further, I repudiate any association with ads that are sexist, racist, and demeaning to women which are now appearing on this site.

    Offline Talbot

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #16 on: December 19, 2016, 11:59:00 am »
    Eeeexcellent... :(

    Offline Elizabeth Barone

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #17 on: December 19, 2016, 12:01:46 pm »
    December is always slow for me. I usually chalk it up to most people spending money on gifts rather than books for themselves.

    Hang in there and keep writing!
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    Offline JRTomlin

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #18 on: December 19, 2016, 12:04:13 pm »
    I did just put something up for presale that will go live on Dec 26 which is about the time sales usually start to pick up. Hopefully a few of my followers will quickly get a few reviews out so it will help the series for January. :)
    I do not accept the Terms of Service which were instituted without notification. I do not consent to VerticalScope reproducing content I posted on this forum in any newsletter, website, or another forum. I've requested account deletion; however, the owners of this forum REFUSE to delete my content. Further, I repudiate any association with ads that are sexist, racist, and demeaning to women which are now appearing on this site.

    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #19 on: December 19, 2016, 12:07:07 pm »
    I hate to say this, but after spending a couple of years on KBoards I can say that honestly this thread could have been started any month of the year. Some months are down for some people, some months are not. They're not the same months, though, and chestnuts like "December is a bad month" are just as true and accurate as the same sentence with another month plugged into it.

    Offline thesmallprint

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #20 on: December 19, 2016, 12:08:18 pm »
    If it gets any worse for me, buyers will need to open accounts so I can pay them

    Offline Jonathan C. Gillespie

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #21 on: December 19, 2016, 12:18:41 pm »
    I hate to say this, but after spending a couple of years on KBoards I can say that honestly this thread could have been started any month of the year. Some months are down for some people, some months are not. They're not the same months, though, and chestnuts like "December is a bad month" are just as true and accurate as the same sentence with another month plugged into it.

    I disagree. Folks in many businesses and lines of work will tell you certain months tend to be worse or better than others; why wouldn't it be true with publishing? Though I agree anecdotal evidence is always difficult to collate.


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    Offline Elizabeth Barone

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #22 on: December 19, 2016, 12:22:02 pm »
    Plus increased social obligations cutting into reading time.

    Yup! And maybe husbands who steal iPads from wives who like to read on said iPads, so that said husbands can play zombie games. 😂
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    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #23 on: December 19, 2016, 12:49:24 pm »
    I disagree. Folks in many businesses and lines of work will tell you certain months tend to be worse or better than others; why wouldn't it be true with publishing? Though I agree anecdotal evidence is always difficult to collate.

    Philosophically, sure. But I'm pretty sure we could start a "are sales down for you this month?" thread 12 times and find agreement each time.

    My sales were steady all summer, i had two down months in October in November, and they're up in December, but I run bookbub promos on what's turning into an every-5-7 month schedule. I have no idea what my numbers "should be". We're all dealing with either better-than-expected or worse-than-expected, and market trends in an industry that is shifting as often as this particular one is (meaning ebooks, not publishing as a whole) don't mean a whole lot on a per-person basis.

    In other words, if you're having a good month, I can find people who are also having a good month. If you're having a bad month, I can find people who are also having a bad month. Both sets are absolutely correct, for them. But they don't support the argument that A Month in particular is A Bad Month, period.

    Offline Not any more

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    Re: Any other authors experiencing a December sales slump?
    « Reply #24 on: December 19, 2016, 12:51:45 pm »
    I hate to say this, but after spending a couple of years on KBoards I can say that honestly this thread could have been started any month of the year. Some months are down for some people, some months are not. They're not the same months, though, and chestnuts like "December is a bad month" are just as true and accurate as the same sentence with another month plugged into it.
    I was really looking forward to November because last year, November was the month my earnings really took off. November was lousy. I always hated summers because they were so slow, but this past August was my best month ever by double. December started off as a disaster. New release went live Dec. 13 and in a week I quadrupled the previous two weeks' earnings with a 99 cent book. Sales and page reads on my back list are picking up.

    Just remember, Chicken Little was the first indie author to sign up for Kboards. It could be worse. You could have lost the transmission in your car this afternoon. :(
    « Last Edit: December 19, 2016, 12:53:28 pm by brkingsolver »
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

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